Go Against the Grain

What Mary Meeker Tells Us About Customer Experiences

If you are like me and get a kick out of reading incredible new marketing research, then you too have probably flipped through the 355 slides of Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends of 2017. For the rest of you sane marketing professionals who are not interested in digital trends from healthcare to gaming consoles, I will save you the time. Hidden among the thousands of statistics from Mary Meeker’s famous internet trends are excellent indicators of the things that matter to today’s customer experiences. Mobile is slowing down, not all customers need digital experiences, and calculating ROI is still difficult, but it is getting easier! 

Mobile Is Slowin’ Down

Mobile advertising has been growing fast and now a larger portion of internet advertising than desktop ads, but there are canaries in the coal mine saying mobile is slowing and marketers may soon be overdoing it. There’s no doubt, consumer and marketer attention is on mobile right now, but mobile growth only had a 3% increase year over year, showing signs of market saturation.

On top of that, Mary Meeker highlights the $16 billion mobile ad opportunity that is still available for marketers, but we have to be cautious. Being too bullish on the platform may come back to bite us if the industry becomes flooded with too much attention in the coming years. Mobile advertising is exciting now, but there will come a day when the ad spending will normalize like it has for television and radio. Until that day comes, carry on!

 

 

Not All Customers Need Digital Experiences

Warby Parker co-CEO Neil Blumenthal said, “I don’t think retail is dead. Mediocre retail experiences are dead.” His words and this year’s research provide us with a needed reminder to focus on the experiences our customers want and need. Sometimes the best experience for our customers is online or mobile, but other times it is not.

Retail store closings may break a 20-year record this year, but while that is taking place, there are still companies out there opening up in-store experiences to complement their online offerings.  Amazon is charging forward with their plan to roll out 200+ physical stores in the next ten years. Warby Parker has been rolling out brick and mortar stores for a few years now and plans to add 25 more to the list this year. Men’s clothing retailer, Bonobos, is now offering an in-store “guide shop” experience to let customers try on their better-fitting duds.

On the consumer end, it is important to remember how each generation still interacts differently with technology. Time spent on mobile devices helps reflect how digital experiences differ among consumers with 18-24 year-olds spend three times the amount of their attention on digital devices than folks aged 65 and up. Of course, not every marketer is trying to serve up senior citizens YouTube videos, but it is important to remember that not every consumer is reached on a digital platform and some never will be.

Calculating ROI Still Ain’t Easy, But It is Getting Easier

“Online advertising and e-commerce becoming increasingly easier to measure and more actionable” was a headline in the internet trends report. Digital advertisers are set to take over TV ad spend on the backs of data-rich experiences this year. Many believe this is an opportunity to serve up more relevant and engaging advertising to our customers, saving the inauthentic customer experience that has given some marketers a bad reputation. Others are still seeking to improve it.

Google has gone so far as to create a platform to help advertisers link ad dollars from earlier in the customer’s lifecycle to specific purchases called Google Attribution (you should listen to Robert Rose’s commentary on this in PNR 185). Still, calculating ROI topped the list of challenges for social media marketers, beating out securing budget and typing campaigns to business goals almost twice as often. At the end of the day, calculating ROI just isn’t an easy process, and marketers show it.

We look into each year’s internet trends with the hope we will be told how to plan our customer experience into the future, but at the end of the day, it is up to each of us to determine how we put our customers first. We can all choose to give remarkable experiences for our customers or stick to the same old playbook we have always know. The choice is yours, but you better make it quick, because the world is changing beneath our feet.

 

 

Jaden Bales
Jaden Bales is co-founder and lead strategist at Mountain Valley Marketing, a digital marketing firm rooted in the Pacific Northwest. He spends his professional time helping clients create exceptional customer experiences online and his personal time seeking out exceptional experiences outdoors. Follow him on Twitter at @heyjbales
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Author: Jaden Bales
Jaden Bales is co-founder and lead strategist at Mountain Valley Marketing, a digital marketing firm rooted in the Pacific Northwest. He spends his professional time helping clients create exceptional customer experiences online and his personal time seeking out exceptional experiences outdoors. Follow him on Twitter at @heyjbales